Man who attacked Oakland Chinatown leader awaits fate

The parolee admitted to attacking an Oakland Chinatown leader without provocation was in court Thursday to await his fate, but the judge said he needs more information before sentencing him.

James Lee Ramsey pleaded no contest earlier this year to assault for attacking Carl Chan from behind near 8th and Broadway in downtown Oakland in April.

In court Thursday, Chan told Judge Scott Patton of Alameda County Superior Court that other victims of Asian descent are scared to be walking the streets.

"We should be able to be at anywhere, at any time, we should be safe," Chan said. "When people say 'wrong place at wrong time,' if it wasn't me, it could have been another person."

Ramsey didn't say anything before he elbowed Chan to the ground. Though dazed and bloodied, Chan was able to take a photo of Ramsey, who was arrested a short while later by Oakland police.

As part of a plea deal, Ramsey pleaded no contest to assault, and prosecutors dropped a criminal-threats charge and hate-crime allegation. Chan has said Ramsey made a racial slur before the attack.

But the key issue in court Thursday was how to punish Ramsey but at the same time ensure that he's treated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Prosecutor Peter McGuiness said he wants Ramsey to serve four years in a locked and secure facility.

"At the time of the offense, he was off his medication for eight or nine months," McGuiness said. "He also stated that he didn't want to take medication, nor does he think he needs to."

Defense attorney Michael Wilson argued against a straight prison sentence with no guarantee of quality mental health carre.

"I'll be the first to admit that  there is no perfect solution," Wilson said ."As I've said, I think your honor has been deprived of any number of tools potentially available."

For now, the judge said before he sentences Ramsey,  he wants him to be evaluated by the state by means of "a referral to a treatment and diagnostic facility at the Department of Corrections for a 90-day period."

In his victim impact statement, Chan said, "I don't want to be remembered as only a victim."

He added, "I'm inviting all of us to be the game-changers, to improve our community, to making sure that public safety for everyone."